Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Choice

Nicholas Sparks brings another of his cookie cutter romance novels to the big screen. A guy, a girl, a love triangle, a water scene with a flock of birds, a hospital, a moment in the rain, a budding romance, a tragic event. What else do you need to know? Yes, his stories are fairly predictable but true romantics go to see if they can connect & share the emotional ride he plans for his characters. A charming country boy veterinarian (Benjamin Walker) competes with a handsome rich doctor (Tom Welling) for the affections of a pretty intern (Teresa Palmer) with a dog. It's also "Meet the Parents" related to this love triangle. Look for a little side romance for a supporting character. If you like the main characters, you'll probably like the film.

Alien gives it 3 "a basket of puppies" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Hail, Caesar!

The Coen brothers are at again with their latest quirky offbeat comedy poking fun of Busby Berkeley geometrically choreographed productions, Roy Rogers/Gene Autry singing cowboy westerns, Fred Astaire dance numbers, and Esther Williams swim related films. If you don't recognize those names, maybe this isn't the film for you. Josh Brolin plays a Hollywood film industry "fixer" who covers up any sandals involving their big box office draw stars. While filming a picture about a Roman tribune meeting Jesus Christ (Joseph Fiennes' role in the soon to be released "Risen"), their star (George Clooney) is kidnapped & held for ransom by a mystery group claiming to be the Future. Toss in some religious leaders, some communist screenwriters, hush money, a chain smoking film editor, & a Hedda Hopper/Dear Abby/Dear Abigail gossip columnist dual role by Tilda Swinton into the mix. Ralph Fiennes, Tatum Channing, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, & Frances McDormand have small supporting roles. This is a fun silly romp through the Golden Age of film making.

Alien gives it 2 ½ "Capitol Pictures Studio" stars out of 4.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

This is not a sneak preview. This film has already released.

Six U.S. security contractors at a nearby CIA annex decide on their own to spring into action when the U.S. Consulate in Libya comes under mob attack by jihadists on September 11, 2012. It is a heart pounding fire fight trying rescue ambassador Chris Stevens & protecting the American personnel at the annex as wave after wave of attacks are launched. Besides the intense action, the film gives some insights to these heroic warriors as to what drives these family men to do what they do. Photos of the real people portrayed are featured at end of the film.

Alien gives it 3 ½ "Are those friendlies?" stars out of 4.

Jane Got A Gun

This is not a sneak preview. This film has already released.

It's New Mexico 1871 and with her husband critically wounded, Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) seeks her ex-boyfriend Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) to help protect her family from the outlaw John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) & his gang. Jane, Dan, & John all have secrets that are revealed during the course of this Wild West drama, kind of a mini "The Magnificent Seven" minus six. But it's still a good shoot 'em up/guns a blazing shoot out film. Portman plays that strong western woman & Edgerton has a hand in writing this screenplay.

Alien gives it 3 "the Bishop Boys, Wanted Dead or Alive" stars out of 4.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


The biblical story of Jesus' resurrection is told as seen through the eyes of non-believer Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a fictional Roman tribune charged by Pontius Pilate to investigate the rumors of a Jewish messiah rising from the dead. This is a well made film with great costumes & sets. This movie plays like a police drama of an "Unsolved Mystery". Unfortunately for Tom Felton, his association with role of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films unfairly draws more of a snickering reaction. 

Alien gives it 2 ½ "visual Sunday school lesson" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Finest Hours (3D)

Based on a true story, the U.S. Coast Guard sends a small crew out on a blizzard stormy November night in 1952 to rescue any survivors of a sinking oil tanker torn in half. Is this the story of dutiful dedication or a suicide mission? It's high drama on the high seas. It's desperate people making desperate decisions under desperate conditions. It's a great character driven story about an strong independent woman, a by-the-book seaman, an out-of-place commander, & a leader of a crew wanting to abandon ship. The outstanding cast is lead by Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, & Eric Bana. Photos of the real people portrayed run during to the credits. 

Alien gives it 3 ½ "pitchpole" stars out of 4.

Monday, January 25, 2016

God Is Not Dead 2

Continuing on with some of the same characters from the 2014 "God Is Not Dead", this religious sequel involves a high school history teacher (Melissa Joan Hart) being tried in court on a separation of church & state issue after she answers a question posed by her student. Similar to the original film, the premise sets up a debate over religion with both sides being presented. Once again, many characters interact in subplots that contribute to the message. Among those familiar faces are Jesse Metcalfe, Robin Givens, Fred Thompson, Ernie Hudson, Ray Wise, & Pat Boone. During the credits, this well done film lists numerous real life court cases tried along the same topic. This film is scheduled to be released on April 1, 2016.

Alien gives it 3 "God is not dead, surely he's alive" stars out of 4.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Eddie the Eagle

Based on a true story, this inspiration movie recounts a little boy's dream of becoming an Olympian & a young man's determination to make it happen. Michael "Eddie" Edwards (Taron Egerton) manages to compete in the 1988 Calgary Olympics as a ski jumper. It is an amazing story that you will have to see for yourself to truly enjoy it. Hugh Jackman plays Eddie's reluctant trainer in a side story about an alcoholic ski jumping champion washout. Although the movie is largely fictionalized, the end result is a light hearted & moving story about a real life underdog/novelty act who became an Olympic fan favorite & media sensation for his 15 minutes of fame. Come see this film so you can root for and soar with Eddie the Eagle.

Alien gives it 3 ½ "in the true spirit of the Olympic Games" stars out of 4.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The 5th Wave

Escalating alien attacks on Earth throws the life of a typical high school girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) into turmoil as she must desperately rescue her little brother while not knowing who to trust. This sci-fi thriller based on a young adult novel trilogy builds to the climax of the fifth wave attack reveal. The film also hints at possible love triangle developing. Veteran actors Liev Schreiber & Maria Bello add to the cast featuring mostly the younger generation. If you are hoping for an inside look at these menacing aliens & their technology, you may be disappointed. This film may be fine for a younger crowd but true sci-fi addicts will likely be disappointed.

Alien gives it 2 "Zombie, Ringer, Teacup, & Nugget" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dirty Grandpa

Not to be confused with the 2013 hidden camera Jackass film production of "Bad Grandpa", this is an actual movie with a real script but it is also "R" rated for sexual content, language, nudity, & drug usage. Just a week before his wedding to his boss' daughter, uptight conservative corporate lawyer Jason (Zac Efron) is tricked into taking his just widowed grandpa (Robert De Niro) on a road trip from Atlanta to Florida that will have life altering impacts. It is a hilarious adult themed comedy that your eyes & ears won't believe what you are witnessing from these two. Jullianne Hough & Dermont Mulroney add to the mix, but Aubrey Plaza steals her scenes as the outrageous sex crazed girl on a mission. As in all romantic comedies the storyline outcome is predictable, but it's the road trip journey that will keep you laughing because it is so wrong that you can't help it. Don't get up too fast when the credits start to roll or you might miss the final bit.

Alien gives it 3 "Flex Off Challenge" stars out of 4. 

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